Tosiwo Nakayama, 75; First Micronesia President

Associated Press
Thursday, April 5, 2007

Tosiwo Nakayama, 75, who as the first president of the Federated States of Micronesia helped his country emerge from U.S. control, died March 29 at Hawaii Medical Center West in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. No cause of death was reported.

"We consider him our George Washington," said Tadao Sigrah, the Micronesian consul general in Honolulu who had been a member of Mr. Nakayama's presidential staff.

Mr. Nakayama became the country's first president in May 1979, when the constitution was drafted, then won a second term and served until 1987.

The islands, formerly part of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, became an independent nation under a Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1986. With a population of about 107,000, the Federated States of Micronesia consists of 607 islands extending 1,800 miles across the archipelago of the Caroline Islands.

Mr. Nakayama was originally from the Micronesian island group of Chuuk. Before becoming president, he served in the Congress of Micronesia and the interim Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia.

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